Wednesday, February 21, 2007

ATP Synthase

In yet another tribute to the skill displayed by blind mechanistic processes in constructing what anyone but a Darwinian true-believer would recognize as an engineered machine, Telic Thoughts offers a simulation of the operation of the enzyme that synthesizes ATP in the body's cells.


If It Should Come to War

The BBC reports on the American plan of attack should Iran persist in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Here's part of the BBC story:

It is understood that any such attack - if ordered - would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres. The US insists it is not planning to attack, and is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.

The UN has urged Iran to stop the programme or face economic sanctions. But diplomatic sources have told the BBC that as a fallback plan, senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.

That list includes Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Facilities at Isfahan, Arak and Bushehr are also on the target list, the sources say.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the trigger for such an attack reportedly includes any confirmation that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon - which it denies.

Alternatively, our correspondent adds, a high-casualty attack on US forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran.

Long range B2 stealth bombers would drop so-called "bunker-busting" bombs in an effort to penetrate the Natanz site, which is buried some 25m (27 yards) underground.

The BBC's Tehran correspondent Frances Harrison says the news that there are now two possible triggers for an attack is a concern to Iranians.

It should be of concern to everyone. One of the interesting things about these plans is that they have been somehow made available to the BBC at the same time that the Bush administration is adamant in its denials that any attack on Iran is being planned. We appear to be playing mind games with the Iranians. Let's hope it works.


The Blasphemy Challenge

Something called the "Rational Response Squad" is soliciting people, mostly young people, to make a commitment to condemn themselves to eternal damnation by videotaping themselves denying the existence of the Holy Spirit.

Set aside the callowness of the project and the dubious theology that underlies their interpretation of blaspheming the Holy Spirit and explore for a moment the psychology of what these kids are doing. They are proclaiming that they don't believe that God exists, but for what purpose? Someone may believe that space aliens don't exist but most people would hardly bother to send in videos to You Tube declaring the fact. If one doesn't believe that God exists why go to the trouble of videotaping an affirmation of one's doubt? What is it about denying the existence of something that is a source of such pride in the denier?

For some of these kids, moreover, it seems that they're not so much denying God's existence but rather banishing the God they suspect exists from any role in their lives. In other words, it's not an intellectual or philosophical position they're voicing, but an act of defiance or rebellion against the concept of God that they've come to hold. In the very act of denying God's existence they seem to be admitting that they know He's there, but that they resent that He is.

If this is a correct interpretation of what at least some of these kids are doing, then, for all of their pretense at intellectual sophistication, they're making themselves look silly. It's foolish, after all, to deny the existence of what deep down you know to be real. It's foolish to despise what deep down you believe to be the source of all that's good and right in the world. In their attempt to be "rational" they make themselves irrational. In their attempt to be "cool" they make themselves dumb. It's very sad.